HARARE – Parliament has demanded an investigation into the death of a newly-born baby at Masvingo Provincial Hospital (MPH) due to alleged neglect by medical staff.
The health institution’s staff is accused of reportedly failing to attend to a woman in labour, resulting in her baby’s death due to a cold.
Parliament’s Public Accounts committee — headed by Mufakose MDC MP Paurina Mpariwa — is targeting MPH’s midwives over the fatal incident, captured in the auditor-general’s report tabled in the National Assembly a fortnight ago.
At the same hospital, two registered general nurses are also accused of neglecting a critically-ill patient who allegedly died under the care of a nurse aide.
“Can you explain to the committee why there was gross negligence at MPH that caused the loss of lives?” Mpariwa asked Health ministry permanent secretary Gerald Gwinji.
“What disciplinary and other corrective measures have you taken to ensure proper service delivery at the institution?” she questioned.
Gwinji said: “We don’t think this is the norm and whenever such issues happen, the relevant persons involved are brought to a disciplinary hearing and charged accordingly.”
“In addition to that, we have tried to enhance training, particularly around midwifery for people and for nurses who are on the ground to realise the urgency of the matter when the mother is about to deliver.
“In that case, disciplinary action was taken, they were charged, they were demoted and they were made to lose part of their salaries,” he said.
Gwinji said they had also put up a team of seniors who go around mentoring others in the nursing department.
“These go out on the ground. In as far as Masvingo is concerned, we picked up these three nurses, but there are also other places where we picked slightly higher level people, like doctors themselves and so forth.
“So this mentoring programme and ethics-building programme is meant to restore those ethics we used to have around patient care.
“It is regrettable that life was lost and it can never be replaced, the system then took relevant action to see how we can correct this,” he said.